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Trio Teeters on Brink

Say your prayers: NBC confirmed that the future of acclaimed cult network Trio is in jeopardy.

NBC acquired Trio along with Vivendi Universal Entertainment. From a programming standpoint, the quirky pop-culture network is a hit and generates buzz among TV devotees.
But NBC Television Networks President Randy Falco admits its future is up for grabs.
Trio is a critics’ darling, focusing on high-end TV, such as the possibly prescient Brilliant But Cancelled, about beloved shows that got canned, televised plays, and music. NBC executives were wowed enough by the programming to promote Trio President Lauren Zalaznick, putting her in charge of both Trio and Bravo.

But clever programming does not necessarily a solvent business make.
Since the bulk of Trio’s distribution is tied up in a DirecTV deal ending this year, the company will have to make a decision soon. According to Falco, Trio has “only” 18 million subscribers, though that’s sizable for startups.
But for Falco, it’s payback time. He’s got just one question: “Does it make sense economically?”